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Max Mara Group fashion director Laura Lusuardi is an avid collector of fashion and has over the years helped build the company’s massive archives.

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I’m one of those people that keeps everything. I keep every single piece of fabric,” she admitted. “All these things have a value for me and I think that this is also very important for the company.”

Supported by the Maramotti family, Lusuardi has assembled two archives, both located in a company-owned villa in Reggio Emilia.

One is dedicated to the group’s historical pieces and includes 20,000 items from the different collections, starting from the Sixties, like the complete collection of hats used in Max Mara runway shows over the years. There are 600 folders with sketches; 20,000 vintage periodicals; 300 boxes full of fabrics, and an entire room filled with pictures, posters and magazine reviews.

“This is an important tool to transmit our company’s values to future generations,” Lusuardi explained.

The other archive comprises 4,600 pieces from other design houses, from Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent to Gucci and Yohji Yamamoto.

In addition, Lusuardi has focused her attention on one particular garment — the coat — which is Max Mara’s core product. The coat collection ranges from a 1965 Balenciaga piece with a pointed hood and a lynx frill to a China blue Pierre Cardin design, and an Yves Saint Laurent Russian-themed style once owned by Audrey Hepburn. Some of these are in the traveling exhibition, “Coats!”

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